Princeton Capital Blog

Daylight Savings Time

October 31st, 2014

Daylight SavingsDaylight Savings Time

It’s happening this Sunday at 2am. We spring forward and set our clocks back one hour. Most of us will do that Saturday before we go to bed.

Some of us may not need to do that at all. Computers, phones, and televisions now automatically change time for us.

Those of us old enough to remember, it was fairly time consuming (yes, sorry, pun intended) to go around and find every clock in the house as well as wrist-watches.

And I hear you asking: why do we do this? Does it really provide a benefit or should we go Hawaii and Arizona on the Daylight Savings?

How Did It All Begin?

If we have to “blame” anyone for our sleep deprivation, it would be the Germans back in 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel. Of course, they didn’t change their clocks until May 1st. The plan was not adopted here until the Standard Time Act of March 19, 1918, which established our standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. The idea was unpopular even then, and Congress abolished DST after the war, overriding President Woodrow Wilson’s veto.

Daylight Savings became a local option until FDR made it mandatory in 1942. He called it “War Time” rather than Daylight Savings, and it was in effect until 1945.

Local regions went back to choosing whether they wanted to adjust time to save fuel or not until 1962.

By 1962 the transportation industry found the lack of consistency confusing enough to push for federal regulation. The result was the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-387). Beginning in 1967, the law defined standard time within the established time zones and provided for adjusting time. Clocks would be advanced one hour beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and turned back one hour at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. States were allowed to exempt themselves from DST as long as the entire state did so.

In 1986 Congress enacted P.L. 99-359, amending the Uniform Time Act by changing the beginning of DST to the first Sunday in April and having the end remain the last Sunday in October.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST was extended in the United States effective March, 2007 when DST would begin on the second Sunday of March and end on the first Sunday of November.

Does It Save Energy

It probably used to but it’s not so true anymore.

DST’s potential to save energy comes primarily from its effects on residential lighting, which only consumes about 3.5% of electricity in the United States and Canada. Delaying the time of sunset and sunrise reduces the use of artificial light in the evening but it increases it in the morning. So there isn’t much savings.

Plus, it doesn’t impact the usage of people working early or late in the office.

How Can I Recover More Easily

We could try to tell you to start changing your habits weeks in advance (like we do with getting school kids back on a regular schedule after Summer), but the truth is, there’s not a lot you can do.

So, the number one thing is to get as good of a night’s sleep as you can Sunday night. Don’t drink alcohol as it will disrupt your sleeping patterns. Exercise lightly when you wake up to help get the blood flowing.

Drink coffee or tea if caffeine’s your thing.

Be extra cautious when driving. There are more accidents in the few weeks after a time change than normal, even when we get that extra hour’s sleep. And we trust you to be a good driver, we just don’t trust everyone else out there.

Look into shifting your hours for a few days, maybe going in earlier and leaving earlier (and then taking a short nap when you get home), or going in a little later while you adjust your internal clock to the new time.

If we had a referendum to change the state to not be on Daylight Savings, would you vote for it? Or do you like having more hours during the summer for exercise or playing outside?

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